When I became a vegetarian 6 years ago it was purely for ethical reasons. I loved the taste of meat, chicken curries were the best, but felt like a hypocrite for being a huge animal lover and then eating chicken and beef which is so evidently neglected in most feedlots and abattoirs around the world. So that was that, one night after yet another documentary on the maltreatment of chickens and cattle I called it quits on my carnivorous lifestyle. I am very aware that one person turning into a vegetarian is not going to make any difference to the meat supply chain but I still do not want to contribute to any more chickens becks being burnt off or a cow spending its whole life in a 5m sq enclosure.
Upon attending COY I was so pleasantly surprised to be surrounded by other people who were also like me. I would say 70% of the people there were vegan or vegetarian. The reason I know is that I handed out lunch on day 2 and most people double checked the food was defiantly vegan. The reason veg food is spoken about and supplied at a climate change conference, not one on animal welfare is that meat is a major cause of global warming.
The reason is that 70% of the Amazon rainforest is cut down if for meat production and livestock produces more greenhouse gases then worldwide transportation. Another indirect problem with cattle farming is that a large percentage of the grain grown worldwide (half of the world's total grain supply to be exact, 760 million tons) is grown to be used in cattle feed. So 3,4 billion hectares of land which grows grain does not end up feeding starving people but feeds cows. These cows are then eaten by rich, developed countries.
A major problem in developing countries is that as the upper class become richer they eat a diet higher in meat which further contributes to more of the countries' grain being used for cattle feed and even less food for the poor.
Meat also used 16X the volume of water than fresh produce and therefore results in use of 70% of the clean water on Earth. As we know, water is going to be an even scarcer resource from 2020 andResearch by the University of Chicago (Proff. Eshel and Dr. Martin) found that going vegan for one year saves 1,5 tons of emissions relative to standard American diet, 50% more than switching from an SUV to a Toyota Prius.
I could go on and on with facts about carbon/methane and livestock farming (particularly cattle) but wont, you get the point.
I'm not saving become a vegetarian, it isn't easy to give up all meat, you need serious will power. but even eating less meat may help the fight against climate change.